Day 3 (Monday, 4/8)
- Sights: Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, Pere-Lachaise, Moulin Rouge, Les Invalides / Napoleon's Tomb, Galleries Lafayette
- Eats: Du Pain des Idees, Pierre Hermé, L'As du Fallafel, Chez Marianne
Within walking distance of our flat was an amazing bakery that my friend found, called Du Pain des Idees. She was super excited about it, so we finally hit it up for breakfast.
Ohmygosh, the aroma as soon as we stepped in the door was amazing!
It was a bit late in the morning, but it was still ridiculously busy with locals. They were still refilling the baskets and trays with pastries fresh from the oven.
My choice was an Escargot Aux Cassis Fraise, which also had cream cheese. This put Laduree's to shame, and it was just sooo delicious! Perfectly flaky towards the outside, and just a little custardy and soft in the center. Mmm...
My friend got a Chocolatine, basically a Pain au Chocolat, and a wonderful bread with coriander seeds.
Then, we went out for the day, just a bit later than usual. We could have rushed through the day, but I did stop to appreciate this pretty part of the Abbesses Metro station.
It's decorated with paintings of different sights in Montmartre.
First stop was Montmartre itself, and my friend took the Funicular while I took the stairs. I won the unofficial race versus my friend! Yes, I can be a child.
Sacre Coeur was beautiful, and the views of Paris were breathtaking.
We wandered through some of the smaller streets in Montmartre, through a market and ended up at le Moulin de la Galette. It is now a restaurant, but still a windmill within the Paris cr limits, nonetheless.
Now, this is something that I was really excited for, Père-Lachaise. It's a cemetery so big, that it needs its own map. There are streets within the grounds because it is so big!
It looks like a city of its own! I love cemeteries, and these are definitely inspiration for the beautiful ones in New Orleans that I toured a couple of years ago.
There at so many famous people buried here, and it's almost like a scavenger hunt. I never found Maria Callas, it here is Jim Morrison of The Doors.
Since I was more excited than my friend to see the graves, we split up. However, it started to rain really hard at one point, and I ended up getting lost in the cemetery. Scary!
Still, I continued with my scavenger hunt. Moliere!
Oscar Wilde! One of my all time favorites, for sure. Like Jim Morrison, they need to put up a barricade from people who are a bit too fanatic in their adoration.
And this is when I got lost between the graves. Eek!
After I found my friend, we took a quick picture of the Moulin Rouge, and got the heck out of Dodge before it rained again!
We got to Les Invalides and I saved a couple of Euro with a late entrance ticket. My friend was a bit tired, so she enjoyed a coffee while I saw the inside of the museum. We had gotten such a late start, that there was only an hour to see everything before they closed. No problem, because I can power walk!
First was Napoleon's Tomb. If is enormous and surrounded by other important people's tombs. The sheer size of some of the decorations was impressive. Little man, big tomb!
Ceilings are always beautiful, but impossible to capture on a rinky dink camera, like mine.
After the museum, we headed to another part of town. Right outside the Opera Metro stop was the beautiful Opera building, of course. That silly tour bus had to be parked right there... We didn't stop for a tour but we certainly appreciated the outside.
Then, we went to Galleries Lafayette, which is an incredible department store! Many high end designers have a section of the floor. Think of a high end swap meet, where each booth is an extremely expensive designer. It is definitely a shopper's dream (or nightmare)! And the middle area with the beautiful skylight and balconies, is amazing!
Honestly, we stopped for one place in particular: Pierre Hermé.
I bought a macaron of my own!
The macron Céleste had passion fruit, rhubarb and strawberries. It tasted wonderful, and had such a beautiful, multicolored cookie. In all honesty, our opinions on the macarons were the same: Pierre Hermé was the best, followed by McDonald's then Laduree.
Having spoiled fur dinner, we headed to the Marais part of town for L'As Du Fallafel. You know that I love falafel, and I've had them all over the world since I was a kid. I'm no stranger to a pita and fried garbanzo beans.
The food was amazing! As street food as you can get, with everyone just standing outside the restaurant. There is seating outside, but almost no one chooses to take advantage.
I got the falafel with everything, including a red spicy sauce. My friend got the combo of Fallafel and Chicken Shwarma. I could live off of this. Throw in a Pierre Hermé macron from time to time, and I would be happy as can be.
I walked by a window of sweets at Chez Marianne, and couldn't help but buy a piece of Baklava.
Their deli spread was so colorful, I would have tried some, if not for the falafel. :)
On the way back home, we stopped at the grocery store, which is one of my favorite things to do in a foreign country. My friend needed to pick up some souvenirs, and one of my favorites of all time was too tempting to resist. Before we were able to import it, I loved Orangina and Toblerone as a kid, and looked forward to every trip abroad so I could have them whenever I wanted.
Now that I can get them at home, it's not as special and I never buy it! Abroad, it's a totally different story. :). And I just about died when I saw these. I'm a gummy candy freak, and these are just so yummy that I feel bad that I didn't buy any to take home. Too bad...
Day 4 (Tuesday, 4/9)
- Sights: Pont Neuf, Notre Dame
- Eats: Du Pain et Des Idees (2), Aki Boulangerie, Chikoja
We couldn't help it, but we came back for another round. This time, my friend and I shared all three items: an Escargot with Pistacho, one with Rum Raisin, and a plain croissant.
So, so scrumptious!
First, we saw Sainte-Chapelle, but it was super rainy, so we just decided to admire the upside and move on to our next stop.
We then crossed the Island to see Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris.
But of course, we had to see Notre Dame, even with the rainy, windy weather. We weren't the only ones. Check out all of the people with their colorful umbrellas. I'm so glad that I brought mine along for the trip. TOTALLY necessary!
And here is the front of Notre Dame in all of its glory. It's definitely impressive, and made me think of how years ago, the people of Paris would have seen this as a place of refuge during cold, rainy nights, just as we did, and been even more awestruck.
Everything is absolutely beautiful inside. The domed ceilings are synonymous with Notre Dame.
The stained glass windows were difficult to capture, but at least you can get the idea. This is just one of many!
Next, we headed to Berthillion for ice cream, even though it was cold out. Unfortunately, they are closed on Monday AND Tuesday! My friend got some from a nearby cafe that also sold Berthillion ice cream. I decided to wait until the next day and hopefully buy some from the real deal.
We didn't have anything else planned, but I didn't want to quite head home yet. My friend was recommended to try Aki Boulangerie, a Japanese bakery by one of her friends.
Initially, we didn't think we would get to try it, but luckily we had booked it all over town and pretty much finished all of our big to do items.
The pastries and cakes were so cute and had such interesting flavor combinations!
I got a green tea roll, and a mochi bread, which I photographed terribly. Anyways, I was really hungry, so I convinced my friend that we should eat at one of the nearby restaurants before digging into our baked goods. We ended up choosing to eat at Chikoja just down the street. I ordered the combo meal with mushrooms over noodles, chicken gyoza, and pickled radish. Definitely a good deal and it hit the spot!
Day 5 (Wednesday, 4/10)
- Sights: Versailles
- Eats: Le Floréal
We went to Versailles on our last day, and figured that it would take a long time. We were totally right! Also, as usual we got a late start on the day. Here's little miss with the statue just outside Versailles.
They're doing some work on the palace facade, but it still looks beautiful with the scaffolding.
There's tons of ooh and aah moments in the Palace, this being one of the first. I'd be happy if my entire house was the size of this one room. :)
A peek outside the window at the beautiful gardens.
The famous Hall of Mirrors along with the beautiful chandeliers and paintings.
After the castle, we took the petit tram to both the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon. Don't be fooled by the word Petit, it's huge!
And the last stop of our petit tram ride was the gardens. They're sooo huge and after 11 days of constant walking, we were happy to pay for the train to bring us through the grounds, especially because it was raining!
The famous Apollo fountain. There's no way to capture it on my camera. Oh well!
When we got back, a bunch of our plans fell through. I had intended to have my Berthillion ice cream before it closed at 8 pm, but we arrived at nearly that time. Instead, I met up with my aunt who lives in Paris, and we were supposed to eat at Cafe Breizh. Unfortunately, when we were a party of 3 instead of a party of 2, we were told that we couldn't be served. TOTAL bummer!
Instead, I met my cousin and his two little girls, which totally tripped me out that they spoke fluent French. I hadn't met them in the past, so this was a fun little family reunion.
Afterwards, we decided to eat a quick bite at the restaurant near our Metro stop, Goncourt, called Floréal.
We shared a linguine with seafood...
And a big basket of baguette pieces!
The awesome and not so awesome thing about Paris, is that you will always have something to try of next time. If only it was closer and not so expensive...
But then again, it's probably for the best if I want to continue fitting in my current wardrobe!
Next on the travel itinerary: Amsterdam!
*Update: See the whole trip here!*